Sybil’s Cave and Unsolved Murder of the Beautiful Cigar Girl

Sybil’s Cave, a recreational destination for 19th-century leisure seekers, achieved its fame, or rather infamy, as the site of an unsolved 19th-century murder. Sybil’s Cave was created in 1832 by the Stevens family as a folly. The man-made cave around a natural spring was adorned with an elaborate Gothic-style entrance and served as a cafe…

The Witch of Wall Street – the legend of Hetty Green

There are people so odd, so easy to loath, that their character loses its human form and becomes the stuff of legends. One such person was the woman who went down in history as the “Witch of Wall Street.”  She was awarded the title of the world’s greatest miser by the Guinness Book of World…

Ode to a Brownstone

The character of New York’s many residential streets is defined by the perfect rhythm and uniformity of adjacent houses lined up in rows right next to one another and forming a solid street facade. Combining Yankee practicality with the romantic old-world feel, the brownstones are the soul of 19th century New York. Built all over…

Paramount Building

Built 1926 Architects Rapp & Rapp In 1926, Paramount Pictures, one of the major American motion picture companies, built its headquarters along with a cinematic theatre right in Times Square. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in Times Square and its illuminated glass globe could be seen as far as…

Audrey Munson in New York

“POMONA” of the Pulitzer Fountain   Location: Grand Army Plaza, 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets Sculptor: Karl Bitter/Isidore Konti Built: 1916 The exquisite female figure atop the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel is an allegorical depiction of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Symbolizing bounty, she holds a basket of fruit as the…

Victory Arch – the Last Temporary Triumphal Arch in Madison Square

The Victory Arch was located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway between 24th and 25th streets and stood there from 1918 to 1920. Even though World War I did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, the combat had stopped on November 11, 1918, when the…

Lost Triumphal Arches of New York

Several triumphal arches were erected in New York City for public celebrations. It’s hard to imagine that most of them were temporary, standing only for short periods of time. Perhaps it’s symbolic of New York,  the agile and ever-changing metropolis, to build such grandiose structures only to be destroyed. Three temporary arches in New York…

Dewey Arch – a Temporary Triumph in Madison Square

The Dewey Arch was a triumphal arch that stood from 1899 to 1900 on the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue at 24th Street. The Arch was erected to celebrate Commodore George Dewey’s stunning naval victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. This particular military achievement was of great importance…

Mamie Fish – the “Fun-Maker” of the Gilded Age

    “Can I get something for your throat, dear?” – inquired Mr. Stuyvesant Fish. His wife retorted: “Yes, this diamond and pearl necklace I saw today at Tiffany’s.” The most irreverent broad of the Gilded Age, Marion (“Mamie”) Fish did not shine with beauty. Nore with education. Heavyset, stern, barely literate, and often quite…